The pack of Christian-backed singers that moved into the top 10 on American Idol's sixth season will once again perform on the same stage at the upcoming Dove Awards in Nashville.
The Dove Awards, hosted by the Gospel Music Association, is considered the Christian version of the Grammy's. The awards are billed as Christian and Gospel music's highest honor.
Audiences turning into the live ceremony this week at the Grand Ole Opry House on Wednesday, April 23, will hear from Jordin Sparks, pro-life supporter and the youngest “Idol” champion from the Spring 2007 run of the show; Chris Sligh, the North Carolina music leader; and Phil Stacey, the music minister of a Fla.-based church, GMA announced Thursday.
Sparks was among those who were backed by the GMA during her “Idol” run. She had been the Overall Spotlight Winner at the 2004 GMA Academy and grabbed top prize in the Country/Southern Gospel category.
Mandisa, who was a backup singer for Christian author and speaker Beth Moore before placing ninth in Idol's fifth season, will also join the 39th GMA Dove Awards star-studded line up.
All four former “Idol” contenders have drawn their musical influences from Dove and Grammy-winning artist Michael W. Smith, who got his breakthrough as Amy Grant's piano player and co-songwriter. Sparks had performed on Smith's 2005 and 2006 Christmas tours.
Grant will lead the pack in singing a medley of their favorite "Smitty" songs as a tribute to the Christian music veteran as Smith marks his 25th anniversary in the industry.
The event will also feature the first live performance of "So Great," a song co-written by many of the Christian music greats to benefit Compassionart, a charity dedicated to generating income from music to benefit the poorest of the poor.
Delirious? frontman/songwriter Martin Smith, who founded the organization, along with Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech will appear via satellite video to introduce the first live performance of the song which will feature Compassionart songwriters Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman, Israel Houghton, Michael W. Smith, Paul Baloche and Christy Nockels.
Smith of Delirious? met with award winning Christian music songwriters in the United Kingdom in January to write the songs. More than half of the 22 new songs have been recorded to date for a charity project that will release in the Fall.
Another performance that is expected to please audiences is a duet by Dove Award Female Vocalist of the Year Natalie Grant and country icon Wynonna of “Bring it All Together” from Grant’s Awaken project.
The night's line-up will also include Casting Crowns, Marvin Sapp, Switchfoot, The Clark Sisters, David Crowder*Band and Trin-i-tee 5:7.
The GMA event will cap off with an “Opry at the Doves” performance, featuring gospel, country and bluegrass artists. Third Day's Mac Powell will join a plethora of artists in chorus for “I’ll Fly Away.”
Presenters for the coveted Dove Awards will include Kirk Franklin and Matthew West and Dove Award nominees Skillet, Aaron Shust, Mark Lowry, TobyMac, Sandi Patty, Rob Beckley of Pillar, Mark Schultz, and Leonardo.
This year, the GMA Board of Directors decided to increase the number of nominees from five to seven in categories honoring Top Artist, New Artist, Group, Male Vocalist and Female Vocalist.
Mandisa, a 2008 Grammy award-nominated artist, will be vying for the Female Vocalist of the Year and New Artists of the Year titles. New Artists nominees 33 Miles, Brandon Heath, Group 1 Crew, Rush Of Fools and DeWayne Woods, will also showcase their vocal talents at the event.
The Dove Awards ceremony will broadcast live nationwide on the Gospel Music Channel television network from 8 – 10 p.m. ET and XM Satellite Radio on XM 32 “The Message.”
Used with permission